Garden Blooms

Most of the time my gardens look better in my mind. irisIn my own theoretical universe I shower them with time and attention and they reward me with a constant show of blooms.

clematis And sometimes the beauty of reality puts my dreams to shame.

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It’s foggy, misty, rainy and muddy in that way where the damp and chill seeps right to your bones.black and white foggy orchard

But inside the greenhouse the peas are blooming!pea blossom

As I experiment and learn in the greenhouse I may not yet have figured out how to make much of a meal for the family during the dark days of winter but there is no better food for the soul on a day like today than green, growing plants.

The Celery Growers

Early this spring the girls were with me in the greenhouse helping to plant the celery seeds.Celery sprouts

They had their hands in the dirt as we transplanted the young plants into the garden and were eager to man the hose and help water them through the early summer.  Once the celery was ready to be harvested they took over chopping it all by themselves so that I could freeze it for this winter.

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But, despite what the “experts” say, I’ll bet you a doughnut they won’t touch it when they see it floating in their soup this winter.

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patternshosta from below

I’ve never been a fan of hostas.

Their huge leaves look overly tropical and out of place nestled under pine trees. Their mounds of foliage jump out and grab your attention – in the most boring greenish way possible. I suppose I understand how the leaves can be attractive- until Japanese Beetles attack and all you have left are attention grabbing, pillowy mounds of weird, tropical looking plants riddled with holes awaiting an imminent frost that will turn them into giant, brown piles of mush…

I’ve never been a fan of hostas.

But, the new house came with shade.

Lots of shade.

My hosta hating self is now the proud owner of lots of shade and lots of hostas.

But you know… if you take a picture from underneath the leaf, give it a bit of pick-me-up in Photoshop, then turn the whole thing upside down… I almost like it.

Of course it no longer looks much like a hosta.

In fact it almost reminds me of a water slide.

I have always been a fan of water slides!

Tiny Spiders

Yesterday baby spiders hatched in my window box and my spinach was covered with the tiny guys.baby spiders on spinach There were tiny spiders and tiny webs everywhere.baby spiders

Clara picked up a handful and they flowed out of her hand on their tiny webs like water in slow motion.

Today they have vanished to wherever it is that baby spiders go and my spinach was spider free when I picked it for dinner.

one baby spider

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

I have a native cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) in my yard. This plant and I have the perfect sort of plant-gardener relationship – the one where I ignore it and it grows and thrives. This year the drought has not been kind to it and it’s a bit smaller than normal. The foot diameter patch is only four to five feet tall instead of having closer to a two foot circle with over six foot flowers.  All the way up the giant stem cups are formed at the base of the leaves, after a rain (or a dewy night) the insides of these cups fill with water. Then these little pockets of water draw all sorts of insects, birds and sometimes even a small frog or two.  I can always count on watching our resident goldfinches  flitting in and out of the patch, getting a drink as soon as the plant shoots up in the spring and later eating the seeds from the yellow flowers.

Now I’ve got to end this post and get back to my usual fare of  swearing kids, sleeping dogs, and piles of laundry before I start writing like a gardening catalog and leave you with some sappy line like:

“Pick up one of these easy keepers for that troublesome wet spot in your yard today!”

How Does Your Garden Grow?

In the spring I’m always full of hope and plans when it comes to the lawn and garden.

I think that this will be the year that even though I hate the lawn I will keep it nice and neat if only to make my husband happy. I will plant grass seed in the bare spots, dig out more thistles and fill holes. It wasn’t…

During the winter John and I made lists of vegetables for the garden and in early spring the kids and I started seeds in the house.

Our vegetable garden vision didn’t quite pan out this year… … that’s right, we’ve got one sad tomato plant that I’m afraid has never seen the proper end of a hose. On the bright side this is a very hardy tomato plant, if I knew what it was I’d recommend it to all my brown thumbed friends!

In the spring I’m certain that the girls and I will garden together and that the flower beds will be beautiful and mostly weed free (even I’m smart enough never to hope for weedless).

In June it looked hopeful.

But now that August is here my flowers appear to be engaged in a game of  hide and seek…


… I figure it was nice of me to leave so many weeds so they’d have such nice hiding places.

For mothers day John and a good friend bought flowers for my window boxes and they were gorgeous… …emphasis on were.

And so my gardens grow, or to be a bit more correct; wither, die, and are smothered under weeds. But that’s the great thing about gardening, while it’s possible this was my worst gardening summer in history and I’ve pretty much given up all hope for the time being, I can already picture next years garden. You know, the one brimming with sweet corn, tomatoes and herbs set in the nicely manicured lawn right next to the house with the wonderful perennial flower bed and the beautiful window boxes. You should come visit it’ll be great… next summer.

“Stupid” Questions

Ivy was in a great mood today.

She was good.

She was helpful.

She played with Clara.

She listened well at story-time.

She drove me insane.

Here is the problem. When Ivy is extra super happy, she talks extra super much, and it’s not just talking.  It is non-stop question asking.

Now before you think I’m a horrible intolerant mother let me refer you to this post –One Hundred and Seventy Seven.  The short story on that post is that one day Ivy asked me 208 questions in one afternoon, I learned from that experience that counting the number of questions only makes me more insane  and does nothing to stem the flow of asking.  In fact it’s been almost four months since that day and we are still in question land.

Especially when Ivy is in a extra super happy, because that means she is also in an extra super talkative mood.

The problem is that I am happy to answer real questions.  It’s the “stupid” questions I have a problem with. Every time Ivy asks me a “stupid” question I hear countless old teachers’ voices echoing in my head saying “There is no such thing as a stupid question.”

But there are.  There are lots of stupid questions.

Things like “Mom, where is Storm?” – In the same crate she’s been in for the last two months and easy to locate because she is barking.

or “Mom, are you eating?” -While we are all sitting down eating lunch together.

or “Mom, are you peeing?” -That needs no further explanation other than to say I look forward to the days of kid-free bathrooms.

Repeat questions are also stupid questions.  If you have already asked me three times what color my shirt is, time number four is, without a doubt, a stupid question.  Possibly two and three were as well.

The stupid question crowning moment came late this afternoon. Ivy and I had a conversation that almost made my head explode.  It went something like this:

Ivy: “Mom, what you doin?”

Me: “Pulling out weeds.”

Ivy: “Why?”

Me: “So we can plant garlic here.”

Ivy: “Where are you puttin’ those weeds?”

Me: “In a pile over here.”

Ivy: “What are they?”

Me: “What are what?”

Ivy: “Those.”

Me: “These weeds?”

Ivy: “Yeah, those.”

Me: “I don’t know what kind of plants they are.”

Ivy: “Mom, what are they?”

Me: “Ivy, I don’t know.”

Ivy: “No, what are they?”

Me: “I don’t know”

Ivy: “What are they?”

Me: “I don’t know!”

Ivy: “DON’T SAY YOU DON’T KNOW!”

Me: “But I don’t know what they are.”

Ivy: “Mom, they are WEEDS, just say weeds.”

Me: “Why are you asking if you already know?”

Ivy: “I don’t know…”

Just typing that might have made five more hairs go gray…

The problem is I suspect she just wants to have a conversation with me, but all of my strategies to teach her how to start one without asking a question she already knows the answer to are massively failing. The end result is that I end up pulling out my hair on days Ivy is super happy while feeling guilty that her happy question asking makes me insane.

So please if you know how to get a kid to stop asking stupid questions let me know.

If by chance you are one of my old teachers who have accidentally come across this blog – I challenge you to take Ivy for the day and see if there is still no such thing as a “stupid” question.